November 19, 2010

Griswold Special Care of San Antonio’s Special Dreams program brought a smile to a San Antonio resident once again.  San Antonio resident Richard Friend has been diagnosed with a terminal disease and hasn’t had the resources or social support system to allow him to venture far from his home at Rosewood Nursing Home and Rehab.  Richard said “I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been outside the nursing home over the last several years.”  One of the items on Richard’s bucket list was to take a ride around San Antonio and possibly stop at a park.  His list was more conventional due to limited resources and the added logistical challenge of being in a wheelchair.  Elma Andrade of Heart to Heart Hospice (210-824-4113) heard of his plight and knew of Griswold Special Care’s Special Dreams program.   Elma contacted George and Laura McGuire, owners of Griswold Special Care of San Antonio, and nominated Richard to be a recipient and have his wish granted.

George visited Richard at Rosewood and discussed some of Richard’s requests.  One that stood out was his wish to visit the zoo.  Richard didn’t think it was a possibility but George knew different based on previous experience and the generosity of the San Antonio community.  Laura called Joe Kirkland of Handi Vans (210-300-5000) and when he heard Richard’s story, he gladly offered free use of one of his wheelchair accessible vans to transport Richard to and from his outing.  Daman Franklin, a volunteer with Heart to Heart Hospice, also generously donated his time to provide caregiving assistance for Richard’s trip.  The San Antonio Zoo was just as receptive and donated admission tickets to Richard and his escorts.  When asked about the community’s support of the Special Dreams program George said, “this is our third opportunity to grant a wish to a local resident.  Our company alone doesn’t have the resources to support each of the requests and so we look to the generosity of the San Antonio community.  In each case either an individual or a business has come through and donated the necessary resources to make the person’s dream come true.”

When asked about the Special Dreams Program Laura said, “the program began when we heard of similar programs around the country.  We thought if they can do it so can we.  We take nominations from the community and a board decides on the merits and needs of the nominee when choosing a recipient.  We then coordinate with local businesses or individuals to provide the resources to support the recipient’s wish.”

The weather cooperated perfectly for the day at the zoo.  After enjoying all of the exhibits the zoo had to offer there was one more surprise in store for Richard.  Joe, of Handi Vans, was able to coordinate with Applebee’s to provide Richard a free meal to bring the day to a pleasant end.  As they prepared to go back to Rosewood Nursing and Rehab, Richard commented, “the moon is almost full, the weather was perfect and this was a great day…thank you!”  And so for one day, a couple business owners, a full-time student and a community came together to make a person’s dream come true.